homelessness: 2 men with life jackets on in boat, smiling.

Seattle Counselor Sticks With Clients For Years In ‘Long Game’

His 6-foot-4 frame folded into the small wooden sailboat, Keaton Hohl waved and shouted “Ahoy!” to each passing boat on Lake Union.

The trip was a chance for Hohl, who is 20 and experiencing homelessness, to have some fun on this cloudy August afternoon. But it was also an opportunity for him to talk about his drinking with Johnny Ohta, a chemical dependency counselor for homeless youth with Ryther, a mental health agency in Seattle. An avid sailor, Ohta is also a board member at the Center for Wooden Boats and often takes clients out sailing.

L.A. School Police, District Agree to Rethink Court Citations of Students

This story originally appeared on iWatchnews.org by the Center for Public Integrity. In the wake of critical news reports, Los Angeles school police and administrators have agreed to rethink enforcement tactics that have led to thousands of court citations yearly for young students in low-income, mostly minority neighborhoods. The Center for Public Integrity and the Los Angeles-based Labor-Community Strategy Center each performed their own analysis recently of previously unreleased citation records obtained from the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department, the nation’s largest school police force. The Center found that between 2009 and the end of 2011, Los Angeles school police officers issued more than 33,500 tickets to students 18 and younger, with more than 40 percent handed out to kids 14 and 10 years old. That was an average of about 30 tickets a day.

Children’s Right to Attorney Not Universal, Washington State High Court Rules

A Washington state Supreme Court ruling Thursday upheld a state law allowing trial judges to appoint attorneys to foster children in cases where a court is considering removal from their family. However, the law does not require children to have an attorney, and the justices ruled 9-0 that the right to an attorney is not universal, according to The Seattle Times. While children have a right to due process, trial judges “have the discretion to decide whether to appoint counsel to children who are subject of dependency or termination proceedings,” the justices wrote in their ruling. “It is the child, not the parent,” the ruling continued, “who may face the daunting challenge of having his or her person put in the custody of the State as a foster child, powerless and voiceless, to be forced to move from one foster home to another.”

Children’s rights advocates were disappointed in the ruling, The Times reports, arguing the ruling departs from other decisions that have upheld children’s universal right to counsel. Still, the ruling notes children would be denied attorneys only in rare cases.

Hornberg

Hornberger Advice: Juvenile Offenders Need Alternatives to Prisons

Nancy Gannon Hornberger, executive director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), says research shows that it is important to “keep the kids out of heavy duty lockup as much as possible.” In this video interview conducted by Leonard Witt, she says “Reclaim Ohio” is a project that saves money and has better outcomes than the bars and chains approach. See subheads and time split guide below the video. Time splits to help guide you through the video:
Introduction 00:00
Conference theme: Developing sentencing alternatives to harsh punishment 00:30
Research shows that normal settings for sentences work best 01:20
Settings built on relationships is better than bars and chains 02:10
Reclaim Ohio is best practice example; cuts lockups and saves money 3:04

Grant Offers Juvenile Court Drug Training Program

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, The U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of Justice Programs offers the 2011 Best Practices for Juvenile Courts Training Grant. The objective is for  juvenile drug courts to better serve kids who are involved in substance abuse, co-occurring substance abuse, and mental health trauma. This will be accomplished by using the Sixteen Strategies of Effective Juvenile Drug Courts as a framework to help build competency, performance and the capacity of the juvenile drug courts nationwide.  The Deadline for this is June 6, 2011 @ 11: 59 EST.

Grants to Improve State Courts

Grants that improve the administration of state courts are offered in the State Justice Institute (SJI) Grants. SJI was established in 1984 to improve the quality of justice in state courts and to help improve the coordination between state and federal courts. The goal of this grant is to come up with innovative and efficient solutions to common issues that all courts face. SJI offers grants for projects, technical assistance, and curriculum adaption, partner, strategic innitiatives and training grants. The Deadline for all of these grants is May 1, 2011.

Can You Sue a 4 year old? Yes, You Can.

The New York Supreme court has redefined the legal age of accountability. This comes from an October 1, 2010 ruling from Justice Paul Wooten who determined that it is possible for a 4 year old to be negligent. As a result, there is a negligence suit against a 4 year old child. The details are laid out in the New York Times,

Two years ago Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, both four at the time, were racing their bicycles on a sidewalk. The bicycles had training wheels. Juliet ran into an 87 year-old woman, resulting in a hip fracture that required surgery. Three weeks later, the woman died.

Most Juvenile Cases Involve Younger Teens

There were 1,666,100 delinquency cases processed across the nation in 2007.  54% involved children younger than 16.   27% involved girls, and 64% involved white youngsters.   For a wealth of data check out  The National Juvenile Court Data Archive and its annual report on  Juvenile Court Statistics 2006-2007